“It should be borne in mind that there is no preference expressed in the liturgical legislation for either position. As both positions enjoy the favor of law, legislation may not be invoked to say that one position or the other accords more closely with the mind of the Church.”
—Congregation for Divine Worship (10 April 2000)
ODAY in the Catholic Herald, an article appeared by Madeleine Teahan about the Archbishop of Westminster. Specifically, the article says Vincent Cardinal Nichols has cited a mistranslated rubric—instead of the official Latin—to discourage his priests from celebrating Mass “ad orientem.” This is being done even though the current 2000 (2002) GIRM and Missal both presume the celebrant and people will face the same direction at certain times, while still allowing for the possibility of “versus populum” celebration.
An examination of the rubrics is necessary, during which it must be borne in mind that English relies heavily on word order, whereas Latin almost never does. On 26 September 1964, INTER ŒCUMENICI said the following in Paragraph 91:
91. Praestat ut altare maius exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebration versus populum peragi possit.
91. “Preferably, the main altar should be constructed freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people.” CONTINUE READING